Today, on 3rd of March, together with the CITES Secretariat and United Nations (UN), we celebrate World Wildlife Day! 3rd of March 1973 was the day of signing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). To commemorate the signing of this important convention, United Nations General Assembly proclaimed it as World Wildlife Day. Now we celebrate it to raise awareness of the wild animals and plants that live on our beautiful planet. This year’s theme for the celebration is “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”.
Please also read: Celebrating wonderful wildlife!
Forests – important part of our lives
This year’s theme “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet” highlights the important role of forests in the world. It is estimated that currently between 200 and 650 million people globally rely on forest ecosystems. From trees which produce oxygen to fungi living in the ground and making soils fertile. From large predators shaping landscapes to insects who fertilize crops in the surrounding villages. Every piece of the forest puzzle is important and has to be valued.
Forests and their ecosystems are even more important for indigenous and local communities, who often directly rely on forests for shelter, food, medicine, cultural identity and spiritual fulfillment. Indigenous people are truly the lifeline between humans and forest, forest-dwelling species and the ecosystem services they provide. That is why putting forest protection in the hands of indigenous people is a common practice. Currently, indigenous people manage approximately 28% of the world’s land surface, including some of the most ecologically valuable, pristine nature.
Forests are in danger
Forest ecosystems, like every other natural ecosystem on the planet, are currently facing several crises – from climate emergency, deforestation, biodiversity loss and pollution to COVID-19 pandemic. Even though forests are an important part of a healthy planet, the pressure on them does not cease. Unfortunately, deforestation rates globally are increasing due to expansion of farming lands and increasing demand for fuel. Therefore, raising awareness about the benefits of healthy forests and celebrating forest ecosystems is as important as ever.
What we are doing for European forests
European Wilderness Society is currently involved in two Interreg projects – BEECH POWER and Centralparks. These two projects are directly dealing with the nature/forest protection and local communities’ empowerment.
BEECH POWER takes an ecosystem-based, participatory approach to anchor the World Heritage sites in sustainable regional development. Through developing replicable and innovative models for World Heritage beech forests and their local surroundings the project aims to empower local communities and provide them with tools necessary to protect World Heritage beech forests.
Te aim of Centralparks is to bring nature conservation and local socio-economic development in the Carpathians closer to each other. Tools and strategies developed by Carpathian experts are focusing on enhancing biodiversity and landscape conservation, local sustainable tourism development, integrated nature conservation planning, habitat evaluation and communication with local communities. Therefore, outcomes of the project will support communities and authorities to better protect their local precious nature.
Join celebratory events
On 3rd of March 3rd 2021, World Wildlife Day will celebrate forest-based livelihoods. This celebration will promote forest and forest wildlife management models and practices that accommodate both human well-being and the long-term conservation of forests, forest-dwelling species of wild fauna and flora and the ecosystems they sustain. There will be plenty of online events that will shed a light on the value of indigenous practices and knowledge that contribute to establishing a more sustainable relationship between crucial natural systems and humans.
The full list of online celebrations worldwide can be found here: World Wildlife Day 2021 Events
Participate in the World Wildlife Day celebrations with your family and friends! Join from every corner of Earth to learn more about forests and their importance to people’s (including yours) lives all over the world.